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Written by Sarah Osborne, founder of A Mitzvah to Eat

published in Times of Israel

Dear God,

As I prepare to eat chametz [leavened bread] on Pesach [Passover],

because I need chametz to survive, may You help me find comfort.

May I truly feel what it means to be free,

as I fulfill the principle of pikuach nefesh [saving a life]…

In April 2022, I composed a prayer for those who care about the traditional observance of Pesach (Passover), but need to eat chametz (leavened products). Although Jewish law prohibits eating and even owning chametz for those who are able to survive without it, I had recently learned that some Jews who care about Jewish law need to eat chametz as an act of pikuach nefesh (life-saving). I understood how hard it could be to seem to go against normative tradition and practice. I wanted to support those facing this challenge.

When I finished writing the prayer, I posted it to the social media accounts for A Mitzvah to Eat, the project I originally founded to support those who must eat on fast days. The post received many positive reactions, reaching an audience of over 5000 people in just 36 hours.

Read more here.

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We would be happy to give some reasons for not being able to light Chanukah candles.

Please know that this is not an exhaustive list. The reasons we didn't list are just as valid.

Trauma connected to fire

Being unhoused

Working evenings and night shifts

Living in a building that prohibits candle lighting

Being in a place where it’s unsafe to display Judaism publicly

Not being able to afford a chanukiah and candles

Being in the hospital during Chanukah

Not having an accessible chanukiyah

Trauma around Chanukah

Light or other sensory sensitivities

Disability affecting arm mobility and/or gripping candles

Needing to spend Chanukah alone and finding the idea of candle lighting by oneself too painful

Being in a residential treatment facility

What did we miss? Please comment below.

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Question: Is A Mitzvah to Eat basically for people with eating disorders? Why else would someone need to eat on a fast day?

Answer: Having an eating disorder is just one of many reasons why someone might need to eat on a fast day or relate to mitzvot differently. These reasons include, but are not limited to, a variety of physical and mental health conditions, trauma, and disabilities.

Whatever your reason for needing to relate to mitzvot differently, you are part of our community. We see you, we support you, and we welcome you as part of the communal space we are building and growing together.

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